I never completed my diving certification because of an ill-timed ear infection, but I have always wanted to explore a bit beneath the waves. Luckily, here in Busan, right on Haeundae Beach, there is an opportunity to do just that! With less risk, no training, and no bulky equipment. A wonderful way to spend a day is to visit the Busan Aquarium.
The sign out front by the crosswalk to get to the beach. Beware of sharks! (Encased in glass, not on the beach!)
The Busan Aquarium hosts over 35,000 kinds of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and algae. To see all the ocean species, you explore three underground floors and two underwater tunnels. Upon entering the aquarium, you take an escalator down. Your journey starts at level two and you work your way in a spiral around the central tank.
Some of the tanks are open at the top, but that doesn't mean you can go fishing!
There are many different displays at the aquarium and they did a great job of decorating a sometimes dark space. First you walk through a tropical rainforest, complete with plastic vines hanging from the ceiling! There is a penguin display here too, and the penguins are pretty active.
OK, you can PRETEND to catch and eat the fish!
The aquarium is also full of perfect backdrops for photo opportunities. There are plenty of crazy looking creatures to take photos with, and everyone has their camera phone ready. Just turn the flash off so you aren't that one guy who scares all the fish away.
A view from the top floor (B2) of the main display.
Along with photo taking and general staring at fish and other animals, you can catch a show at the Busan Aquarium! They have an Otter Feeding Show (10:30 AM, 2:30 PM), a Penguin Feeding Show (11:30 AM, 3:30 PM), a Music Talking Show (in Korean with some English ABBA songs; 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM), a Shark Feeding Show (12:00 PM, 4:00 PM), and a Diver Talk Show (every two hours). You can catch the majority of these shows at the main tank! There is plenty of seating both below and aboveground.
There is also a glass-bottom boat you can ride (for an additional fee) floating on top of the main tank!
Along with the glass bottom boat, there is a 3D shark ride on the B1 lounge floor of the aquarium. There's a food court there, and ice cream too! If you finish your tour, have some ice cream, and still really want to take a dive, you can do a shark dive with some of the fully-qualified instructors. Don't forget to make reservations to do this beforehand!
A final goodbye to the fishes from the last underground tunnel.
To get to the Busan Aquarium, take the Busan subway line 2 to Haeundae and come out at Exit 5. Then, it's a straight shot to the beach, and the aquarium! The aquarium is open Monday - Thursday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Friday to Sunday (and holidays) from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM. For those 13 and over it costs 21,000 won (roughly $21) and for much younger kids, under 13, it is 15,000 won (roughly $15).
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/